Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Colombian Hostage Freed After 12 Years - Slate Magazine

Colombian Hostage Freed After 12 Years

Sergeant Pablo Emilio Moncayo was freed after being held in captivity in the jungle by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for 12 years. The second hostage handover this week has increased hopes that President Alvaro Uribe may finally be making broader progress in the U.S.-backed fight against guerrilla warriors and cocaine traffickers. Moncayo, now 32, was seen occasionally in videos filmed by his rebel captors over the past decade and thanks his father, who traveled across the country wearing chains, for his continuing efforts to raise awareness about his plight. FARC is still believed to be holding another 22 police and soldiers hostage.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Google [ rfa ] and China (from guardian.co.uk)

Google said it appeared to have inadvertently sparked the blockage of search queries from across China this evening, reassuring users who feared authorities were shutting off all access in response to the internet giant's decision to close its mainland service. Users had reported that all standard searches on Google's Hong Kong-based service were failing. But it seems that the introduction of a new search parameter, which by chance included a sensitive three-letter phrase, had triggered an existing keyword filter. [ article continues here Guardian.co.uk

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Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder - Research from Washington State University

(NaturalNews) A combination of toxic chemicals and pathogens are probably to blame for colony collapse disorder in honeybees, according to a study conducted by researchers at Washington State University.

Researchers conducted careful studies to uncover contributors to the disorder, in which seemingly healthy bees simply vanish from a hive, leaving the queen and a handful of newly hatched adults behind.

"One of the first things we looked at was the pesticide levels in the wax of older honeycombs," researcher Steve Sheppard said.

The researchers acquired used hives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finding that they had "fairly high levels of pesticide residue." When bees were raised in these hives, they had "significantly reduced longevity," the researchers said.

Prior research by scientists from Pennsylvania State University found unprecedentedly high levels of two pesticides in every sample of honeycomb or foundation wax tested, as well as lower levels of 70 other pesticides.

The pesticides found in the highest concentrations were fluvalinate and coumaphos, used to eradicate the bee pest varroa mites, which have themselves been suggested as a cause of colony collapse.

"We do not know that these chemicals have anything to do with colony collapse disorder, but they are definitely stressors in the home and in the food sources," said Penn State researcher Maryann Frazier. "Pesticides alone have not shown they are the cause of [colony collapse disorder]. We believe that it is a combination of a variety of factors, possibly including mites, viruses and pesticides."

The Washington State researchers uncovered another potential cause, which likely interacts with chemicals to contribute to colony collapse: the pathogen Nosema ceranae, which entered the United States around 1997 and has since spread to bee hives across the country. The pathogen attacks bees' ability to process food and makes them more susceptible to chemicals and other infections.

"What it basically does is it causes bees to get immune-deficiency disorder," said beekeeper said Mark Pitcher of Babe's Honey. "So it's actually causing the bees to almost get a version of HIV."

My comment: - Sounds to me like they are still shooting in the dark.

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The Bucking Bronco Of Europe (image)

Monday, March 29, 2010

When Digital Photography Was New

Do you recall the first time you saw a digital photograph and what you thought of it?

I do: I remember thinking it looked too sharp, the fall-off between the edges and the elements behind too abrupt, and the colors too vivid. I was absolutely used to the way that film looked, and I wasn’t alone. In fact, the film manufacturers had spent the best part of a fifty years developing films that rendered photographs to look the way we see the world.

Or rather, they developed a range of color films to meet the demands of different customers. Some films suited the general buying public. Others had more muted colors and were designed for portrait and wedding photographers. Another, with its bright, punchy color, was a favorite of landscape and flower photographers.

But within that range they all represented reality in a way we found acceptable. Or rather, they did so in their latest incarnations.

Take a look at some of the color films from the seventies though. Even without the changes that time has wrought on their unstable emulsions, people had yellow or red faces, the sea could be any color but blue, and the sky might be something only science-fiction writers wrote about.

In truth, what is acceptable is not fixed. After all, with most fashions – from clothing to furniture – what might seem odd or outlandish one year can be mainstream the next.

So what has happened to digital photographs in the past ten years? Have we changed or have the photographs changed? Have we simply come to accept a different ‘look’?

Five years ago the photography magazines and forums often compared film and digital capture and concluded that there was no point in swimming against the tide and that we all ‘had to’ accept that film and digital capture looked different – neither was right nor wrong – just different.

Not so today. The sensors and the processing engine in digital cameras have improved so much that we can now pretty much choose how we want our digital images to look. You want it to look like film? – it can do so. You want it to look like it was etched with a precision laser tool? – you can have that too.

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Tagged as: digital photography

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We are likely to run out of helium, silver, gold, tin and zinc...

According to Harald Sverdrup of the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Lund, Sweden, this century we are likely to run out of helium, silver, gold, tin and zinc, assuming we continue to use them the way we now do, while platinum, lithium and gallium will run out in the next century. 

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Stop Motion Animation with Knitting - lovely and snuggly

Via:Typodermic Fonts Free web embeddable Larabie Font "Wee Bairn"

Typodermic Fonts Free web embeddable Larabie Font "Wee Bairn" http://j.mp/at3peM

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Euripides

Gurkha champion Joanna Lumley hits back at minister | World news | guardian.co.uk

Gurkha champion Joanna Lumley hits back at minister

Actor's campaign was criticised by Kevan Jones for building up 'false expectations' among veterans moving to UK

Joanna Lumley and Gurkha veterans react after being told all Gurkha veterans can settle in the UK

British actress Joanna Lumley and Gurkha veterans react outside the Houses of Parliament in May 2009 after the government announced it would allow retired Gurkha veterans to settle in the country. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP

Joanna Lumley has accused the government of using smear tactics against the successful campaign she fronted to let more Gurkhas settle in the UK.

The actor said she was forced to break her silence by a "personal attack" from the defence minister, Kevan Jones, who said Lumley had maintained a "deathly silence" about confusion over Gurkhas' rights....[more...]

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Three Ducks

Extreme pool jump video

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bruce Percy, photographs from India

FIVE BOYS: THE STORY OF A PICTURE | More Intelligent Life

Has anyone analyzed and compared Social.com and Hootsuite and Posterous?

Social.com is a suite of social media contribution tools designed to help you spread your message to all your followers on the Internet.

With Social.com’s browser bookmarklet you can quickly and easily send the page that you are on – even from Google Reader – to Twitter, Delicious, and Ping.fm. Use the Social.com WordPress Plugin and Button to drive more traffic to your blog or website.

One login, all your conversations, everywhere you are … Be Social. Download your Social.com tools now.

Has anyone analyzed and compared Social.com and Hootsuite and Posterous?

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MarsEdit 4

I've been using MarsEdit for just over seven years. I started with version 2, and then upgraded to version 3 in 2010. Now, in 2018, I...